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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Chicago Cubs reportedly are optioning second baseman Nico Hoerner to the minors

Nico Hoerner’s stellar spring performance won’t be rewarded with a spot on the Chicago Cubs’ 26-man opening-day roster.

The Cubs reportedly are optioning Hoerner to the alternate site/Triple A to start the season, according to ESPN. Hoerner, 23, had been battling with David Bote and Ildemaro Vargas for the starting job at second base…..

Optioning Hoerner will give him more minor-league reps. Since the Cubs drafted him with the No. 24 pick out of Stanford in 2018, Hoerner has played in only 89 games in the minors with 375 plate appearances, none at Triple A.

Depending on how long Hoerner stays in the minors, the Cubs could gain an extra year of team control, though it’s unclear what the arbitration and free-agency system might look like when the next collective bargaining agreement, which expires after this season, is implemented.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2021 at 09:03 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, nico hoerner

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   1. The Duke Posted: March 27, 2021 at 01:51 PM (#6010415)
When does Kevin Mather say he will be up?
   2. CFBF's Results are Certified Posted: March 27, 2021 at 01:58 PM (#6010416)
Kris Bryant: Forget about it, Nico. It's Wrigleyville.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 27, 2021 at 02:02 PM (#6010417)
This stinks. Hoerner's clearly their best option at 2B. Vargas is a non-entity. Cut him.
   4. dejarouehg Posted: March 27, 2021 at 03:20 PM (#6010425)
This stinks. Hoerner's clearly their best option at 2B. Vargas is a non-entity. Cut him.


Agreed. This is bush-league.
   5. depletion Posted: March 27, 2021 at 03:52 PM (#6010428)
Mother of mercy, is this not the beginning of Nico?
   6. McCoy Posted: March 27, 2021 at 03:57 PM (#6010430)
In what, 7 days he'll be back up?
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 27, 2021 at 04:48 PM (#6010432)
Depends on how Mike Olt is feeling.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: March 27, 2021 at 05:05 PM (#6010433)
No it will take a full month to reset his clock, he's on 1.021 service days.

When I saw the headline, I assumed he was having a bad spring but as the excerpt note, he's not ... really not (353/405/647). His main issue so far had been a serious lack of power so 6 XBH is nice to see. Not that it's any sort of reliable indicator and mostly against minors pitching but nice to see.

That said, and in the Cubs' defense should they need one (and the Bryant case shows they don't), Hoerner was terrible in 2020 and, even if he had started on the opening day roster, would have been sent down if 2020 had been a normal year and there'd be no service time concerns and we might be saying something more like "he needs to prove his spring is for real in AAA." A great 37 spring PAs don't erase the memory of 126 PAs of 222/312/259 (yes a 037 ISO in this day and age).

Bote continues to be league averae which continues to be a pleasant surprise. He's also having an outstanding spring so has earned the starting job. Vargas is as fine a Jonathan Herrera clone as you could hope to find and doesn't even play SS so what he's doing on a ML roster remains a mystery even Colombo might struggle with.

I had missed the Cubs had picked up Joc Pederson. B-R lists no contract for him -- he didn't really have to take a NRI did he? There's no obvious reason to prefer Schwarber to Pederson so that would be a swap of Raysian cleverness. With him, Marisnick, Happ and Heyward, there's no room for Nico in the OF either ... and that could be pretty good OF defense.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 27, 2021 at 05:31 PM (#6010435)
I had missed the Cubs had picked up Joc Pederson. B-R lists no contract for him -- he didn't really have to take a NRI did he?

He got 1/7 and is absolutely raking this spring. 366/426/951 with 7 HRs.
   10. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: March 27, 2021 at 09:52 PM (#6010466)
Joc is steaky and needs to save some juice for the regular season.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 27, 2021 at 10:00 PM (#6010468)
Joc is steaky and needs to save some juice for the regular season.

Joc can flat out rake vs. RHP. Just never let him face a lefty in a meaningful situation.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: March 27, 2021 at 10:14 PM (#6010470)
Pretty much everybody on the Cubs is raking -- except Baez, Bryant and Heyward of course but who needs them? And Kimbrel's ERA is under 15 so World Series here we come.
   13. Zonk Will Be Reinstated in August Posted: March 28, 2021 at 09:49 AM (#6010478)
You missed Pederson - but I caught that one!.... but I completely missed Arrieta's homecoming when he signed... The first flotsam spring action I watched, I thought I was watching a rerun or something at first.

I'm happy to have him back and he's had an OK spring, but I'm already annoyed knowing I have to remember it's Arrieta.... not Arietta.... and not Arrietta.... Given the obviously huge role he played in the Greatest Event in Human History, you'd think I'd have enough affinity to ensure the spelling of his name would be etched in my mind forever... but alas, his has been one of those names where a tic developed early on and now it's hopeless for me to ever consistently remember two R's and one T rather than alternate permutations.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 28, 2021 at 01:33 PM (#6010486)
So Vargas got cut, but Eric Sogard is apparently going to platoon with Bote at 2B. WTF would you voluntarily give PAs to Eric Sogard? He's a 35 y.o. never was. How does he figure in the future of the Cubs?
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: March 28, 2021 at 02:39 PM (#6010494)
ex-Giants 3B Matt Duffy also has made the squad

he's only 30 !
   16. Walt Davis Posted: March 28, 2021 at 05:17 PM (#6010505)
C'mon now, at ages 31 and 33, Sogard was very much a was. Do not under any circumstances look at his age 32 season, you may never sleep again.

As to what are they up to ... they're making one last "run", hoping to squeak into a weak NLC title. That's why they grabbed Davies in the Darvish trade, hope to get lucky with Arrieta, didn't trade everybody else away, etc. It won't likely take much to win the division, basically everybody is projected to 81 wins. If it doesn't work, maybe Davies, Arrieta, Pederson, Marisnick, Sogard, Bryant, Baez, etc. will bring something at the deadline.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 29, 2021 at 11:13 AM (#6010548)
As to what are they up to ... they're making one last "run", hoping to squeak into a weak NLC title.

Then shouldn't they try fielding their best team? No one could actually think Sogard is their best option.

   18. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: March 29, 2021 at 11:30 AM (#6010550)
maybe Sogard is holding the spot until they bring up Nico at some point. Sogard is a better option than Vargas.
   19. Dolf Lucky Posted: March 29, 2021 at 11:49 AM (#6010556)
I'm not sure if there's a Chicago resident or ex-pat on the board, but I'm in need of some info:

I need to fly into Chicago this summer for a college visit tour with my son. When I went to reserve a car, the rental price was roughly double what I expected. Turns out that Chicago-specific fees and taxes are mighty steep.

Plan B is to take an Uber out of the city to a car-rental location outside the city limits, which will save me a few hundred dollars. The problem is that I have no clue about suburban Chicago. Are there areas I want to totally avoid, etc.

It looks like the closest options are in Oak Lawn, Alsip, Blue Island, South Holland, Calumet City, and Glenwood.

Any advice/recommendations?
   20. Howie Menckel Posted: March 29, 2021 at 12:24 PM (#6010558)
I expect you'll get good advice here today.
   21. dejarouehg Posted: March 29, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6010565)
I need to fly into Chicago this summer for a college visit tour with my son. When I went to reserve a car, the rental price was roughly double what I expected. Turns out that Chicago-specific fees and taxes are mighty steep.

Plan B is to take an Uber out of the city to a car-rental location outside the city limits, which will save me a few hundred dollars. The problem is that I have no clue about suburban Chicago. Are there areas I want to totally avoid, etc.


Not a Chicago resident but I've gone there many times and stayed just outside the city several times. I stayed in Schaumburg, Skokie and Oak Park. (All Expedia options at the time.)

Saved big-time on hotels though I occasionally splurged on the rental car.

Chicago taxes were a shocker to me. I didn't think there was any more oppressive tax-structure than NYC.....until my first trip to Chicago!

(It also depends where you're going for your college tour. I took my son down to University of Chicago (looking to play baseball there) and took a cab from Wrigleyville area. Definietly not the neighborhood to get lost in.)

Regardless, it's never going to be cheap but it's a GREAT city.....at least when there's no COVID or craziness going on.

Good Luck!

   22. Zonk Will Be Reinstated in August Posted: March 29, 2021 at 01:54 PM (#6010575)
Where are you flying into, staying, and looking to drive to Dolf?

The burbs you mentioned are south of the city, so I'm guessing Midway? I think renting at the airport adds *more* taxes - when I occasionally get a car (and I'm a Chicagoan sans car), I can usually get a weekend from local places in the city for a couple hundred bucks.... I'm on the northside - and my go-to is a Budget on Broadway for convenience, but there's an Alamo in the Loop that usually has better rates.

As to whether you'd save anything.... IDK... If the price differentials are *really* a "couple hundred bucks", sure of course -- figure maybe 40 bucks or so for the Uber.... the only thing I'd watch for - and this is agnostic to Chicago, of course - is that a lot of the non-airport lots keep hours. The Budget I usually goes closes at 5:30; the Alamo in the Loop at 7....

FWIW - outside the city limits will save you city of Chicago taxes, but Cook County itself probably a fair bit of taxes layered on as well... Depending on where you ultimately are heading and how much you want to hassle, IDK... maybe spend the extra bucks to all the way out of Cook into Will county or something. Longer Uber but if you're already looking to save some scratch by ubering from the airport to car rental....
   23. Dolf Lucky Posted: March 29, 2021 at 02:11 PM (#6010576)
Flying into Midway. Destination #1 is Purdue, so I'll already be headed south. Flight arrives at MDW at 7:30 AM or something, so I should be OK in terms of rental lot hours.

For context, one option I looked at was to rent a car in Oak Lawn, which looks like it's 5 miles away from MDW. Uber might run me $25 to get to Oak Lawn, but the car rental difference is nearly $450 between MDW and Oak Lawn. That's for a 4-day rental on midsize/standard/full size sedan.
   24. dejarouehg Posted: March 29, 2021 at 02:38 PM (#6010578)
You probably won't make the same mistake we did but we went to go to a South Bend Cubs game not realizing that we crossed into the Eastern time zone. If you have a set appointment, just keep that in mind.
   25. dejarouehg Posted: March 29, 2021 at 02:38 PM (#6010579)
oops
   26. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: March 29, 2021 at 03:00 PM (#6010582)
Late on this, but I call bullshit on anyone saying the Nico thing is service time related. One, he's not got enough for that shenanigans. Two, he really can't hit consistently (he started ok in both 19 and 20, but very quickly got exposed). Anyone citing his spring numbers this year should tell me again how predictive those stats are....I'm waiting. Three, Bote is absolutely a better option now (and Sogard at least hits from the correct side to form a platoon with Bote).
   27. Walt Davis Posted: March 29, 2021 at 04:41 PM (#6010593)
Anyone citing his spring numbers this year should tell me again how predictive those stats are

There were a few articles a "few" years ago (could be 10 by now) that showed that yes they are somewhat predictive. My memory is especially ISO changes. Probably picking up on the beginnings of launch angle approaches. It's of course still just a handful of PAs so all you can expect to pick up are huge changes but Nico has had a big jump in ISO this spring. I don't trust it since it's mostly ISObip, not HRs, and I assume that's pretty random ... and of course it's still just a handful of PAs.

Then shouldn't they try fielding their best team? No one could actually think Sogard is their best option.

As a veteran bench player? Sogard has been holding down that sort of spot in MLB for 7-8 years already. In 2019 he put up a 116 OPS+ in 442 PA; he started half his team's games in 2020 (and sucked).

For his career he's at 6.8 WAR, -1.1 WAA. He was terrible in 2018 and 2020, he was very good in 2017 and 2019. Add it all up and over the last 4 years, he's at 3.2 WAR, 0 WAA in just under 1000 PA. A bench player producing at a league-average rate is a very good bench player. He is of course 35 and a repeat of 2020 is probably substantially more likely than league average but it's hardly unusual to take a punt. Now if he gets 2/3 of the playing time over Bote (and doesn't hit) then the Cubs have some explaining to do. But talking about Sogard like he's the worst player in the game is just silly.

Then you get Hoerner. Hoerner has a 74 OPS+ in 200 PA in the majors with an ISO under 090. He only played half a season of AA and it's not like he was setting it on fire. He's probably a guy hurt by the lack of normal 2020 season -- he'd have done the rest of his AA/AAA time (sent down even if he'd been on the opening day roster) and we'd have a better idea of what he might be. Right now though he's a good-glove 2B who can't hit. He's a younger and presumably about $1 M cheaper version of Sogard. If Sogard flops and Hoerner hits well then out with the old and in with the not quite new.

   28. dejarouehg Posted: March 29, 2021 at 08:29 PM (#6010623)
Sogard's upside has been determined; Nico's has not. Just makes no sense to me, though I agree with Moses that I don't think this is service time manipulation.

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